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Author Topic: New hotel finally opens in Wallingford, CT  (Read 827 times)
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« on: July 27, 2015, 06:04:30 AM »

The Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Wallingford, Connecticut finally opened nearly ten years after construction started.


Wallingford hotel opening marks end of construction saga

Published: July 24, 2015 | Last Modified: July 25, 2015 08:14AM
By Eric Vo Record-Journal staff

WALLINGFORD — With six floors and 139 rooms, the Hilton Garden Inn opened its doors for business this week, marking completion of project that started nearly a decade ago.

The hotel, 1181 Barnes Road (Route 68), was purchased by Robert Winston, owner of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Winston Hospitality, in 2013.

Prior to that, the property was owned by Philadelphia-based PRA Wallingford LLC, which defaulted on its bank loan in 2010. PRA started construction in 2006, but the state stopped the project in 2008 because the company could not put up a $1.9 million bond for traffic improvements.

Since 2006, the partially-built hotel was considered an eyesore.

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said he was glad to hear the work is finished.

“That’s good news,” he said Friday. “We want to see, obviously, a more attractive property... but most important is a business is operating and employing people and providing a service to the community and those that travel through Wallingford.”

Located across the street from the future home of the Connecticut Food Bank and next to Interstate 91, the Hilton Garden Inn towers over nearby buildings. The lobby is spacious, with low hanging lights and artwork on the walls. The ground floor also features a restaurant and bar.

The hotel offers standard rooms with queen and king-sized beds. The junior suite offers a sofa bed. The one-bedroom suite is larger, reminiscent of an apartment. The room has hardwood floors, a couch with a queen sized pull-out bed, and two bathrooms. Each room in the suite is also separated by doors.

The hotel offers guests a fitness center and pool. One of the conference rooms is called the “Orchard Room” and another “Choate Rosemary.” The names were chosen because Winston Hospitality encourages hotel management to support the local community, according to Linzi Thomas, general manager. The Orchard Room is named after Lyman Orchards in Middlefield and the hotel serves the company’s apple pie, Thomas said.

“We’re very excited and looking forward to being a part of the local community,” Thomas said.

With the hotel’s opening, the tax incentive agreement the Town Council agreed to in March 2014 will also go into effect. The agreement will save Winston almost $800,000 in property tax payments over seven years.

The Town Council also agreed to settle a tax appeal filed by Winston Hospitality over the assessment of the hotel when it was under construction. Corporation Counsel Janis Small said the appeal was resolved “at a fair market value of $2.8 million.” The town believed the property’s assessed value was $3.16 million, but Winston argued it was worth $2.3 million.

“We had a pre-trial with the judge and that was the judge’s recommendation,” Small said Friday.

“We are very excited and glad to be in the town,” Winston said in a phone interview Friday. “We worked real hard to get what we think is a very good product.”
Patrick Boots CEC
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 06:06:42 AM »

Been seeing that in construction for many years now. Nice to know it is open.
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